Microbrews, food and music: what could be better?

Scott Hess

For only 25 bucks, everybody got all the beer they could drink, four hours of live music and a bunch of great people on a sunny day in a great spot. What more could you ask for?

On Saturday, Northstar-at-Tahoe hosted its 15th annual Beer and Music Festival, which showcased two bands, locals Jeff Jones and the Freerange Posse and San Francisco’s Firecracker, on the solar-powered stage, as well as some of the best beers from around the U.S. and beyond.

According to Northstar Events Manager Janet Mourning, approximatey 450-500 people showed up to sample the more than 35 different beers from 12 breweries.

“I thought we had a great turnout,” she said. “We had a great mix of people.”

Except for some expenses, the proceeds from the festival entry fee and the raffle go towards Arts for the Schools, a non-profit business with volunteers that provide multi-cultural fine arts programs in Truckee, Incline Village and North Tahoe schools.

Mourning said the festival collected approximately $2,000 this year.

She said Northstar has been the beneficiary since the festival’s opening in 1988.

“The breweries are awesome,” she said. “They are really energetic and enthusiastic about coming (to the festival).”

Alaskan, Anderson Valley, Deschutes, Firestone, Humboldt, Mad River, Sacramento, Scottish Newcastle Ltd., Shipyard, Sierra Nevada, Spaten and Sudwerk breweries all made the trek to Northstar to show off their brews.

A great part of the festival was that Northstar used a giant solar panel to power the music stage. Mourning said the generator at last year’s festival broke and belched smoke all over the crowd, so they went to clean solar power. “The solar-powered generator was a little more expensive, but it is a zero waste method of creating energy,” Mourning said. “We do whatever we can to help the environment.”

Both bands were an alternative-rock style, and incorporated original music with covers. Both were well received by a crowd that enjoyed the kicked back atmosphere as much as the music.

Volunteers from Arts from the Schools and Northstar – along with generous friends – helped out with the charity event.

The only thing that wasn’t included in the ticket price was the food, but it was scooped up anyway, probably to soak up some alcohol and keep the crowd sober (enough).

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